AS he emerged from the dugout on Tuesday, June Mar Fajardo immediately looked for girlfriend Aerieal Patnogon and gave her a stem of red rose and a kiss.
But don’t expected the couple to go on an elaborate date on this Valentine’s night as Fajardo kept his focus on the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against the TNT Katropa.
“Dinner lang kami ngayon tapos hahatid ko lang siya,” the SMB cornerstone said. “Syempre may game pa eh, so saka na (yung mas planado na date).”
But they had reason to celebrate on Tuesday night as the Beermen knotted the best-of-seven series at two games apiece after cruising to a 97-86 win in Game Four.
“Nasunod namin yung game plan namin na kailangan i-execute namin yung mga plays namin - hindi kami sasabay sa laro nila na takbuhan,” Fajardo said. “May mga lapses din kami nung endgame eh, dami naming turnovers, so kailangan talaga i-minimize namin yun.”
“Credit din kay Chris Ross, ang ganda ng nilaro niya tapos yung mga tres niya,” he added of his teammate who’s known for his defense yet stepped up on offense with 31 points built around five three-pointers - both career highs.
While Ross spearheaded their offensive attack Fajardo anchored SMB’s defense as he registered 15 points, 15 boards, four blocks, two assists, and one steal in 38 minutes, managing his fouls better with just three fouls after being on the verge of fouling out in the previous game.
“Wala, help defense lang ako,” the three-time MVP said, playing down his defensive effort.
But that’s what Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen have to keep doing as they brace for a TNT comeback in Game Five on Thursday.
“Baka next game, malamang magbo-bounce back sila, so kailangan ready kami,” Fajardo said.